International appeal for the release of Andrey Zatoka

Minister Rashid Meredov
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Prospect Makhtumkuli, 83
744000, Ashgabad
Turkmenistan
Fax: +993-12-35-42-41

October 23, 2009

Dear Minister Meredov:

On October 20, 2009, Mr. Andrey Zatoka, an internationally renowned environmental expert, was arrested in his hometown of Dashovuz, Turkmenistan and is being detained in prison on charges of inflicting bodily harm.

Mr. Zatoka is a well respected environmentalist who has contributed enormously to the Turkmen, Central Asian and international environmental movements. He is a founding member of the International Socio-Ecological Union, founder of the Dashovuz Ecology Club, and has worked with many international environmental organizations including the United Nations. He is a biologist who graduated from Ural State University, and who has worked in Turkmenistan protecting the environment for over 20 years.

Mr. Zatoka’s arrest has raised the concerns of the international community, which is closely monitoring Turkmenistan’s observance of international human rights obligations. We respectfully urge you to immediately and unconditionally release Andrey Zatoka, allowing him to return to his family.

His detainment causes great anxiety and concern among his friends and colleagues around the globe and creates a negative image of Turkmenistan in the eyes of the world. We are concerned for his safety and urge you to ensure his safety and immediate release.

Thank you for attention to this matter—we request that it be resolved immediately.
Sincerely,
1. Kate Watters, Crude Accountability, USA
2. Michelle Kinman, Crude Accountability, USA
3. Doug Norlen, Pacific Environment, USA
4. Karin Lissakers, Revenue Watch Institute, USA
5. Farid Tukhbatullin, Turkmen Initiative for Human Rights, Austria
6. Enid Schreibman, Center for Safe Energy, USA
7. Mika Minio-Paluello, PLATFORM, England
8. Neil Tangri, GAIA, USA
9. Alexey Zimenko, Biodiversity Conservation Center, Russia
10. Mary Dalsin, Public Health Trust, Public Health Institute, USA
11. Ivar Dale, Norwegian Helsinki Committee, Norway
12. Yann Louvel, Friends of the Earth, France
13. Valeria Enriquez, Fundar, Center for Analysis and Research, Mexico
14. Regine Richter, Urgewald, Germany
15. Jora Wolterink, BankTrack, The Netherlands
16. Elena Gerebizza, Campagna per la Riforma della Banca Mondiale, Italy
17. David Gordon, Pacific Environment, USA
18. Catherine Porter, Friends of the Ganges, USA
19. Joe Dalsin, Advent Software, USA
20. Natalie Bridgeman, Accountability Counsel, USA
21. BJ Chisholm, California, USA
22. Ann Pallasch, Virginia, USA
23. Susie Wood, Tbilisi, Georgia
24. Amy Wilson, California, USA
25. John Sterling, California, USA
26. Amy Forster Rothbart, New York, USA
27. Amy Spagnola, South Carolina, USA
28. Kim Schumaker, Virginia, USA
29. Nelya Tukaeva, California, USA
30. Viktor Sokolov, California, USA
31. Elaine Attias, California, USA
32. Melissa Overton, Missouri, USA
33. Brian Overton, Missouri, USA
34. Susan A. Crate, George Mason University, USA
35. Erika Weinthal, Duke University, USA
36. Zoya Talitskaya, Moscow, Russia
37. Jim Boissonnault, Virginia, USA
38. Susan Linsenbuehler, Germany
39. Alice H. Grabowski, Virginia, USA
40. John Musolino IV, California, USA
41. Teresa Kinman, Nebraska, USA
42. Rod Kinman, Nebraska, USA
43. Jean Hardisty, Boston, MA, USA
44. Anne Delaney
45. Giorgi Tsintsadze, Biologist, Georgia
46. Wendy Volkmann, USA
47. Mele Lau, USA
48. Melinda Marcus, Duke University, USA
49. Francis Chandler, Environmental Consulting, USA
50. James M. Dunn, Georgia, USA
51. Tamara Kowalski, Texas, USA
52. Debbie Chapman, California, USA
53. Alexandra Ewing, Vanderbilt University, USA
54. Lisa Swaim, Ohio, USA
55. Patti Karr, California, USA
56. Huub Scheele, Both ENDS, The Netherlands
57. Kellie Bingman, North Carolina, USA
58. Christa Watters, Virginia, USA
59. Leslie Howerton Jones, Florida, USA
60. Chris Musolino, Louisiana, USA
61. Ashley Doucet, Louisiana, USA
62. Sergey Solyanik, Crude Accountability, Kazakhstan
63. Timur Berkeliev, Turkmenistan
64. Pam Pavliscak Ellis, New York, USA
65.Tatyana Lysenko, public environmental group “Za Zhizn!”, Russia
66. Gavin Hayman, Campaigns Director, Global Witness, UK